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Man loses job over search for aliens

By T.K. Randall
December 3, 2009 · Comment icon 11 comments

Image Credit: NASA
A school district employee in Arizona lost his job after he accumulated a $1 million bill using the computers to run the SETI(at)home project software which bogged down the whole system.
A former Arizona school district employee is accused of using school computers in an experiment to find space aliens, costing the worker his job and the district more than $1 million.

Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (11)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by __Kratos__ 14 years ago
Birdwell said it will take more than $1 million to fix the problem, including removal of the SETI software. She says police are conducting a broader investigation. I used to have something like that on my computer, only took me a few minutes to get rid of. They're right though that it's a huge resource drain.
Comment icon #3 Posted by kurethmu 14 years ago
1 million bucks down the drain. I as well pity the fool.
Comment icon #4 Posted by supervike 14 years ago
I had that SETI program on my PC for quite a while as well. If it's the same one I had, it only worked as a 'screen saver', so would only use processing power if the machine was not being used. I think the $1,000,000 maybe a smidge overblown. But then again, it helps explain why all our tax money disapears so quickly.....
Comment icon #5 Posted by :PsYKoTiC:BeHAvIoR: 14 years ago
That's overkill. Besides, if the school still have the same computers as they did back in 2000, the bogginess is not from the SETI@Home application, but the computers are just too outdated.
Comment icon #6 Posted by kenmanme 14 years ago
Gee, I work for a school district that has over 14,000 computers, and it would never cost that much to remove a silly piece of software. Schools have a habit of telling the taxpayers that it will cost 1 million, but in reality the money will go for perks and raises, not software removal. They just can't tell the poor taxpayer that they want the money for luxury. According to my calculations, my school district could replace every single computer we have, all 14,000+ (for much less than one million). This story is either complete crap, or the school district is trying to obtain money any way th... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Archer1945 14 years ago
Have to agree with everyone's comments. When I originally saw this and the $1,000,000 cost for removing the software I nearly fainted. I had SETI@home on several computers in the past and it was not a hard program to remove. Methinks there is something just a little fishy going on here.
Comment icon #8 Posted by magickaldan 14 years ago
I think the school district just wants new computers, and which case they shouldn't be trying to blame crappy computers on someone other than the manufacture of that computer. They should be investigated for proper use of the 1million dollars to make sure it goes towards fixing the computers, otherwise they should apply for a grant for new computers, and give the guy his job back. Edit: I'd like to know how many computers they had and how many he actually installed the software on lol. Take a long time for one person to install on alot of computers. Especially 1million dollars worth of compute... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by Brymstone 14 years ago
I've been running this program for years. The new BOINC version is a bit of a resource hog but it is highly configurable. I just make sure it only runs at night and don't have any trouble with the network or the computers it is running on. Oh, and the Add/Remove Programs function works just fine. I'd be willing to remove it from their computers for just $500,000. Call me.
Comment icon #10 Posted by counterveil 14 years ago
Actually, that article is a little sparse on details. Niesluchowski really lost his job to allegations that he stole computer property from the school (IIRC he had something like 18 computers at his house that belonged to the school) and for failing to protect computers by installing firewall software (which was part of his job). The whole SETI thing was just icing on the cake and naturally the news media latched onto it as the focus of their articles. Yay news. From: On top of all this, a police investigation is ... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by Paracelse 14 years ago
Someone offered to do it for $500,000.00, heck I will do it for $100,000.00 and I will even pay for the flight...

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